Hurricane Florence makes landfall in Carolinas, threatens catastrophic flood

That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall". When all is said and done, Florence could pour 40 inches of rain along some parts of the North Carolina coast, according to CNN.

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In the video, the astronauts expressed awe at the size of the storm, while also pointing out Isaac, a former tropical storm now making its way through the Caribbean.

Florence remains a Category 1 storm, and it's spinning hurricane-force winds up to 70 miles from its center.

Hurricane Florence's path could affect the homes of more than 5 million people, and more than 1 million of them have been ordered to evacuate.

Cooper said Florence would "continue its violent grind across the state for days".

Along the coast, floodwaters have been hitting inland towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean.

The fresh water flooding will also be a major issue as the storm moves inland.

"There's going to be really nowhere for anybody to go", said Chief House with Wrightsville Beach Police. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others".

"From Wilmington to Charlotte, we'll experience between a 500-year and 1,000-year flood event", Trogdon warned in a late-morning briefing.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost nine metres high as Florence churned toward shore.

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"This is a life-threatening situation". The city of New Bern tweeted to its residents early Friday morning, "We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue".

"We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said.

New Bern, a city of about 30,000 residents, has been under a mandatory evacuation order since Tuesday. "I should stay in my house, where I have water and food".

There's still a threat from rising tides, Risty-Davis says.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will not carry out enforcement initiatives in regions affected by Hurricane Florence, the agency said Friday.

When Hurricane Florence started battering eastern North Carolina with record rainfall, the Neuse and Trent rivers began to swell - and combined with high tide, made for risky flooding and dramatic rescues.

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday. But he expected to be able to ride the storm out.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave. Notice the lag in flooding; most rivers will begin to rise 48 to 72 hours after the storm exits the coast.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. The fear is that during that slow march west, it'll drop torrential rains, flooding low-lying areas and overwhelming rivers.

"Since the track is slower and the storm will reside in the area for a longer period of time rainfall amounts are expected to be extreme", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a statement. Its designation then was "potential tropical cyclone six".

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